Marian Gaborik, Drew Doughty

Doughty: ‘I think we’ve got a better team this year than last year’


It might be the second season in a row the Los Angeles Kings have faced the Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference Final, but Kings defenseman Drew Doughty really likes what they’ve got going for them this time around.

Doughty spoke with reporters upon arrival in Chicago on Saturday and said he likes what they’ve got going this time around as opposed to when they lost in five games to the Blackhawks last season.

Jon Rosen of L.A. Kings Insider shares the details.

I think we’ve got a better team this year than last year,” Doughty said. “We’ve got some new additions. We’ve got some D-men like Muzz, who is playing a lot better than he was last year. He’s a lot more confident and has that experience now. We’ve got Gabby in the trade and Gabby’s been a huge fit to this team. He’s produced a lot of points and helped us a lot offensively and putting him with Kopi is great too.

“I think some of those little things make us a better team this year. Hopefully we can take advantage of what we learned from last year.”

Jake Muzzin has been Doughty’s partner for two seasons now and they’ve made for a formidable top pairing on the blue line.

The offense the Kings have gotten from Anze Kopitar, the leading scorer in the playoffs, and Marian Gaborik, the playoff’s leading goal-scorer, has given L.A. that trickier element to deal with.

One thing Doughty didn’t mention was how this year’s Kings team is actually healthy headed into the Western Final. If you’re going up against the defending champs, it’s best to have your full roster healthy and ready to go.

Hey, Tortorella called the Penguins whiners again

John Tortorella
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Don’t forget, the Blue Jackets – Penguins rivalry isn’t just about the bitterness between Sidney Crosby and Brandon Dubinsky; John Tortorella can fuel the fire, too.

Torts must not have been happy about the one-game suspension that Dubinsky received for cross-checking Crosby, as he channeled his vintage self in essentially calling the Penguins a bunch of whiners.

You can see from this glorious Sportsnet video, Tortorella said: “Pittsburgh whines enough for the whole league.”

(He also said the Blue Jackets weren’t going to whine by … whining. Good stuff.)

As Puck Daddy notes, this isn’t the first time Torts claimed that the Penguins are whiners.

Both the Blue Jackets and Penguins lost their games on Saturday, but clearly some eyes and ears were still focused on their last confrontation.

In case you’re wondering, the two teams next face off in Pittsburgh on Dec. 21.


Scary moment: Carlo Colaiacovo hospitalized with ‘dented trachea’


Buffalo Sabres defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo has experienced plenty of bad injury luck in his winding career, but Saturday presented one of his worst scares.

As you can see from the video above, Colaiacovo received a scary cross-check from Viktor Arvidsson of the Nashville Predators, who received a major penalty and game misconduct.

Sabres head coach Dan Bylsma said that Colaiacovo was hospitalized with a “dented trachea” yet is OK, the Buffalo News’ John Vogl reports.

Frightening stuff from an eventual 4-1 Sabres win.

PHT will keep an eye out for additional updates regarding Colaiacovo’s health (and a possible suspension for Arvidsson).

Comeback Kings: Gaborik pulls L.A. past Kane, Blackhawks

Jake Muzzin, Scott Darling

Patrick Kane set an American scoring record, and added another assist to make it more impressive, but the Los Angeles Kings just wouldn’t be denied.

In the end, Marian Gaborik‘s big night meant more than Kane’s; he scored the tying and then overtime game-winner, both assisted by Anze Kopitar, for a rousing 4-3 overtime Kings win.

Gaborik’s first goal:

And here’s video of the OT-GWG:

Noticing a theme tonight? Yeah, it’s been an evening in which it’s dangerous to assume a lead would stand.

With that, the Kings stick to the No. 1 spot in the Pacific Division, but Chicago shouldn’t feel all bad. The Blackhawks were able to piece together a decent run during their dreaded “circus trip.”

Patrick Kane’s streak hits 19 games, setting a new American record


When it comes to point streaks for U.S.-born NHL players, Patrick Kane now stands alone.

With a power-play goal early in Saturday’s Blackhawks – Kings game, Kane extended his streak to 19 games, breaking a tie with Phil Kessel and Eddie Olczyk (who finished with at least a point in 18 straight).

As of this writing, Kane has 11 goals and 19 assists during this 19-game streak. He also leads the NHL in scoring.

Bobby Hull’s 21-game point streak stands as the Chicago Blackhawks’ overall team record, by the way.